Jordan McGregor on his way to scoring Berwick’s third goal v. Clyde ( Photo copyright of Alan Bell )
BERWICK RANGERS 3 CLYDE 0
( Saturday, April 9th, 2016 )
Last time Clyde visited Shielfield back in November, Berwick were on the wrong end of a 5-0 howking. Not only did this result provide a measure of revenge for that abject humiliation, but the three points gained ensured that Rangers cannot finish bottom of SPFL 2 with a consequent play off to determine League status. Callum Crane and Stevie Notman were back after missing the previous Saturday’s drab draw at Ochilview whilst the star performer in that game, Ewan McNeil, was on the bench for this one.
Rangers were rather lucky to go in one up at the break after a first half in which they frequently rode their luck. Initial pressure came from a confident looking Broadwood team. David Marsh passed up an early chance to boost that confidence further with a goal when he fired wide from a promising position. Jordan Kirkpatrick also lobbed the ball wide when Berwick inadvertently directed it his way. Kirkpatrick forced Kevin Walker into using both hands to smack away another shot after the ball was laid off to him from the right.
A shocking back pass from Brian Martin saw the ball squared to David Gormley who duly put it into an empty net. Luckily for Berwick, he was well offside. Marsh headed Scott Linton’s corner against the bar. Closer to half time, home captain Jonny Fairbairn and Kevin Walker were involved in a heated exchange over whose call it should have been after Fairbairn conceded a throw in. Inevitably, Linton went for a long one towards Kirkpatrick but he steered the ball wide.
Yet, by this stage, Clyde were already behind. Berwick had a couple of forays into the visitors’ half without really threatening but that changed in the 22nd minute, Blair Henderson rising majestically to beat keeper Marc Waters with a stunning header off a pinpoint cross by Crane.
Berwick had one other realistic first half scoring chance when Finn Graham tore out of his own half with Michael McKenna in support. The move broke down but with a little more self belief, the pair might have brought it to fruition.
Rangers began the new half with a couple of Graham corners, Fairbairn heading one of them over the bar. The match then developed into a stalemate. Gone was Clyde’s earlier swagger replaced by groans aplenty from their fans as the number of simple errors began to tot up. In addition, Berwick defended well with Graham sometimes back to help. Jordan McGregor’s excellent tackle on Gormley stopped the flow of one attack but the Bully Wee got the ball back and Sean Higgins came closest to scoring all half with a header which travelled wide of the far post.
Berwick should then have made it two. With the visiting defence in a muddle, Graeme Beveridge’s low ball into the box was Henderson’s to finish off. As he struggled to manoeuvre to make contact with it, former Berwick player Michael Bolochoweckyj got it away for a corner.
On a firm surface, the ball was travelling at speed. One long kick from Walker reached Lavery deep inside Clyde territory. Whilst he hardly got a sniff at goal until very late on, by his constant running and harassing, Lavery helped tire the Clyde defence. Now, he played the ball across from the left but McKenna, running in, could only slice it high.
Darren Lavery’s tireless running put pressure on the Clyde defence ( Photo copyright of Alan Bell )
It looked like Berwick were on their way to grinding out a single goal victory until, with five minutes left, Crane again set up Henderson. This time, the crucial ball was virtually at ground level. Henderson’s intention was to control it before having a pop but merely sticking out his leg proved sufficient, this simple touch sending the ball rolling into the goal. If that wasn’t bad enough for Clyde, three minutes later, it got worse. The defence appeared to have jumped ship as that man Crane, again, played a one two with fellow Hibs’ player McGregor, the number five hitting the ball high into the roof of an unguarded net.
Blair Henderson claims his second goal of the match ( Photo copyright of Alan Bell
Berwick Rangers: K.Walker, Beveridge, Crane, Notman, McGregor, Fairbairn, F.Graham, Martin, McKenna, Henderson, Lavery